Things you need to know about Terrazzo

What is Terrazzo?

Just the word terrazzo conjures up images of colorful, fragmented stone composite surfaces, but also historic landmarks in Italy. 

Terrazzo pots RPT.0038

Terrazzo pots from 66 Pottery Bali

Terrazzo actually is a small, picturesque township in Northern Italy, not far from Venice.  Centuries ago, Venetian workers created terrazzo flooring, possibly “the” original recycled product–using waste chips from slab marble processing.  If you have visited Italy, the vast number of carved marble statues will give you some indication of how much marble waste was generated by sculptors over the centuries.  No wonder the savvy citizens of Veneto were inspired to find a way to use those scraps.

So what is the general definition of terrazzo?  it is a composite material poured in place or precast, which can be used for floor and wall treatments. Today, it consists of marble, quartz, granite, glass or other suitable chips, sprinkled or unsprinkled, and poured with a binder that is cementitious, chemical or a combination of both. Terrazzo is cured, ground and polished to a smooth surface or otherwise finished to produce a uniformly textured surface.

The diversity in end uses for terrazzo is astounding.  Outdoor applications, including vertical installations, patio furniture, terrace surfaces, fountains and sculptures are all available to consumers.  And for interiors, let’s not overlook countertops and shower enclosures for adding even more dimension to the terrazzo resume.  We use terrazzo for pots, fountains, tabletops, bathtub, and garden lamp.

Interesting to note that terrazzo is tough enough to be used in high-traffic commercial settings such as lobbies and corporate buildings.  When it is sealed properly, this flooring is both stain and water resistant.  Today, terrazzo continues to provide environmentally friendly durability and low maintenance, typically lasting the life of the building. With no VOC’s emitted, it also earns points on indoor air quality ratings. Recycled content is still a standard feature of modern terrazzo and has become more important today than ever.

The outdoor furniture is a trend that continues to gain momentum because of ease of care and functionality.  But adapting terrazzo to interior furniture design is another whole decorative chapter that is beginning to unfold.  You have to love the candy-flavored design of the pedestal table pictured in this article.  This is a mid-century creation, reproduced in the ‘80’s, and definitely inspiration for a custom-made piece today.

See also out terrazzo products: pots, bathtub, fountains


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